Replacing the clutch cable

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If, while doing a routine check, you happen to notice this, consider yourself lucky. Other ways of telling it's time for a new clutch cable include the clutch just not feeling “right” while shifting. Snapping mid-shift is probably the most popular indicator.


Needless to say, this clutch cable needed to be replaced.

Stuff you need

First, have the new cable on hand. This one was from Kawasaki.


All the tools you will need are in the bike's tool kit, except for the wire cutters. These are the only ones used....Honest!!!!


Taking stuff off the bike

First, remove the seat. In case you didn't know, the latch is released by the key on the left side panel, just below the seat.


Next, remove both side covers.


The side covers are held on by a screw on the bottom near the center of the cover.


Since you will be removing the fuel tank, you'll need to disconnect the fuel and vacuum lines. Turn the petcock to 'off', pull the petcock vacuum line, then carefully pull the fuel line; a few cc's of fuel will be in the fuel line, so be prepared to pour it into a gas can or something.


The lines should pull off the petcock after you slide the clamp springs down the lines a little. The larger line is the fuel. Put a plug in the line to keep dirt out and fuel in. Shown here is just a small machine screw that fits snugly in the line as shown.


Next, remove the fairing screws from the front of the tank. Make sure to see these very important warnings about the upper fairing bolts. Don't mix them up.

8fairscrew.jpg 9fairscrew1.jpg

The rear tank bolts and vent line will be removed next. Bend the vent line clip up, and pull the vent tube off of the tank.


Remove the two bolts as shown. The tank mounting plate can stay attached to the frame.


To remove the tank, pull the tank rearward, then up as shown. Be careful if the tank is full. It will be heavy, and sloshing fuel will make the tank unbalanced while moving it. Be careful of the petcock when setting the tank down. It's a good idea to set it on top of a cardboard box, or something else that avoids putting pressure on the petcock.


Removing the cable/installing the new one

Next, you need to loosen both cable adjusters before you can remove the old cable.

Loosen the adjuster at the handle bar by unscrewing the lock nut and turning the adjuster in to the clutch perch. Try to line up the slots in the adjuster and lock nut as shown to facilitate cable removal.


Now, you must loosen the adjuster at the clutch lever on the engine. The top nut is unscrewed as far up as it will go. The bottom screw must be unscrewed until it comes off the threaded end of the cable, down near the cable boot.

14adjloose.jpg 14aside.jpg

At this time, you can route the new cable next to the old one, ensuring proper routing of the cable. The old and new cables are highlighted in this picture.


Carefully remove the old cable end from the clutch lever clevis, then pull the cable from the housing.


Hook the new cable end into the clutch lever.


Then pull the new cable into the housing, making sure the lower nut is loose by the boot as shown.


Now you can remove the old cable from the handle bar end. Pull the cable out of the adjuster screw, pulling away from the handle. Align the cable end with the slot, and pull the cable end down, out of the handle as shown.


Install the new cable, pushing the cable end up into the slot, and pulling the cable into the adjuster.


The cable should look like this when installed correctly.


There is a wire-tie holding the old cable to the frame. Cut the wire tie, and remove the old cable from the bike.


Install a new wire-tie to the new cable, pulling the tie tight, and cutting the excess off.


Adjusting the new cable

Now you need to adjust the new cable, since both adjusters are loose. The handle bar adjuster should still be backed all the way off. Adjust the clutch end first.

Make sure the clutch lever (at the engine) is pushed up, removing any play from the lever.


Now adjust the cable to remove most of the free play. Make sure to tighten both locknuts.


The final free play adjustment is made at the handlebar. Turn the adjusting screw out until there is 2-3 millimeters of play at the lever. Tighten the adjuster locknut.


Once you are satisfied with the adjustment, double check the cable routing. There should be no binding or pulling of the cable when the handlebars are turned.

Putting everything back together

Reinstall the fuel tank, making sure the lugs on the bottom of the tank engage the bushings on the frame.


Push the tank as far forward as it will go, lining up the fairing and rear bracket bolt holes.


Install the fairing screws. The longer screws go in the lower holes (if applicable). Replace the rear tank bolts, and reconnect the vent, fuel and vacuum lines.

Install the side covers and seat. Turn the petcock back to "on" and start the bike.

Take a short test run, and re-adjust the free play as needed.